A Guide to Mamore Gap: One Of The Most Scenic Roads In Donegal

mamore gap donegal
Photos by Ondrej Prochazka/Shutterstock

The mighty Mamore Gap on the even mightier Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal is one of the most unique stretches of road in Ireland.

From the wild coastal landscapes of the Slieve League Cliffs to the majestic vistas you’re treated to if you climb Mount Errigal, Donegal’s a county that’s not short on epic views.

Yet Mamore Gap, home to some of Donegal’s most unique scenery, is perhaps less well-known but absolutely no less dramatic.

If you’re in the area – and I can’t emphasise this enough – do not miss the stunning Mamore Gap! In the guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know (including where to nab the best view!).

About Mamore Gap

mamore gap
Photo by Paul Shiels/shutterstock.com

Steep, narrow and winding, Mamore Gap isn’t easy to traverse on foot (or by bike!), but then, that’s what makes it so rewarding if you choose to tackle it without a car.

Once a site of Catholic pilgrimage, the Mamore Gap is a pass that takes you through the Urris Hills from Dunree in the south to Urris in the north.

Driving from the south, it’s a steep climb to the summit (walking or cycling would be a serious effort!) but once you’re at the top, the road gives way to a winding alpine descent towards Dunaff Head and the Atlantic Ocean.

Rising up to 800ft above sea level, the views from the summit are extraordinary and are unlike few other places in Europe, let alone Ireland.

Park up and take a bit of time to fully appreciate the gorgeous panoramas. Oh, and bring a camera too!

Things to know before visiting Mamore Gap and things to keep an eye out for

mamore gap in donegal
Photo via Failte Ireland

So, visiting Mamore Gap is relatively straightforward, if you just want to drive it, that is. It’s the parking and getting a view on foot that can cause confusion, at times.

Below, you’ll find some handy info that’ll make your visit to the Gap of Mamore a little bit easier. If you have any other questions, let us know in the comments.

1. Parking

You’ll have a couple of car parks to choose from. There’s one just beyond the summit that’s situated near the holy shrine, while another larger one is near the bottom of the descent.

2. Holy sites

The holy well of St. Eigne (mentioned above) is the principal holy site on the route and is pretty much unmissable if you’re driving up from the south.

3. The magic road

So, this is more optical illusion than magic. On your descent down the gap, stop your car and put it in neutral when you see the white stone on the left.

When you lift your foot off the brake, the car will roll forward yet appear to be travelling uphill! Amazing stuff.

Where to grab a mighty view at the Gap of Mamore

mamore gap donegal
Photos by Ondrej Prochazka/Shutterstock

Want to make the most of your time at the Mamore Gap? There’s one spot you can take advantage of that’s less obvious than the others but arguably more satisfying.

Just as you reach the summit, you’ll see a gap on the left-hand side of the road that’s easily big enough for a car.

Make sure that you pull in safely here as some idiots have been guilty in the past of blocking the road – not cool on such a narrow route.

To the right there’s a large hill which is reasonably easy to climb and gives off absolutely deadly birds eye views of the pass and the surrounding landscape. Just make sure you’ve got proper hiking footwear on, as the ground below can get muddy and unstable.

The best way to see Mamore Gap

In our opinion, the best way to experience the Gap of Mamore is by heading off on the Inishowen 100 drive or cycle.

This is a long-distance driving route that’ll take a minimum of 4 hours to complete and that takes in many of the best things to do in Inishowen (read our guide to the Inishowen 100).

The Inishowen 100 is perfect for anyone that’s only visiting Inishowen for a couple of days and that wants to pack in a lot of sightseeing.

Things to do near the Gap of Mamore in Donegal

kinnagoe bay donegal
Photo by Chris Hill via Failte Ireland

One of the beauties of the Gap of Mamore is that it’s a stone’s throw from many of the Inishowen Peninsula’s top attractions.

Below, you’ll find a handful of places to visit that are under a 45-minute drive from Mamore Gap.

1. Fort Dunree (11 minutes away)

dunree fort military museum
Photo left: Lukassek. Right: Lucky Team Studio/shutterstock

Once an important defensive fort, Fort Dunree is now open to the public. Discover what life in the fort would have been like, take in a wealth of exhibits, and explore the underground bunkers.

2. Glenevin Waterfall (14 minutes away)

Glenevin Waterfall
Photo left: By Pavel_Voitukovic. Photo right: By Michelle Holihan. (on shutterstock.com)

Lose yourself in the magical beauty of the stunning Glenevin waterfall. Follow the wooded, riverside trail to the crashing waters and immerse yourself in one of Ireland’s many wonders.

2. Brilliant beaches

kinnagoe bat donegal
Photos by Chris Hill via Tourism Ireland

Mamore Gap is near some best beaches in Donegal. The closest to the Gap are Tullagh Strand (14 minutes), Pollan Strand (18 minutes), Five Finger Strand (34 minutes) or, our favourite, Kinnagoe Bay (45 minutes).

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